A.C. Reed

A.C. Reed

简介:by Bill Dahl To hear tenor saxist A.C. Reed bemoan his fate onstage, one might glean the impression that he truly detests his job. But its a tongue-in-cheek complaint — Reeds raspy, gutbucket blowing and laidback vocals bely any sense of boredom. Sax-blowing blues bandleaders are scarce as hens teeth in Chicago; other than Eddie Shaw, Reeds about all there is. Born in Missouri, young Aaron Corthen (whether hes related to blues legend Jimmy Reed remains hazy, but his laconic vocal drawl certainly mirrors his namesake) grew up in downstate Illinois. A big-band fan, he loved the sound of Paul Bascombs horn on an obscure Erskine Hawkins 78 he heard tracking on a tavern jukebox so much that he was inspired to pick up a sax himself. Arriving in Chicago during the war years, he picked up steady gigs with Earl Hooker and Willie Mabon before the 40s were over. In 1956, he joined forces with ex-Ike Turner cohort Dennis Long Man Binder, gigging across the southwest for an extended period. Reed became a valuable session player for producer Mel Londons Age and Chief labels during the early 60s; in addition to playing on sides by Lillian Offitt, Ricky Allen, and Hooker, he cut a locally popular 1961 single of his own for Age, This Little Voice. More gems for Age — Come on Home, Mean Cop, I Stay Mad — followed. He cut 45s for USA in 1963 (Id Rather Fight than Switch), Cool (My Baby Is Fine, a tune hes recut countless times since) and Nike (Talkin Bout My Friends) in 1966, and Things I Want You to Do in 1969 for T.D.S. Reed joined Buddy Guys band in 1967, visiting Africa with the mercurial guitarist in 1969 and, after harpist Junior Wells teamed with Guy, touring as opening act for the Rolling Stones in 1970. He left the employ of Guy and Wells for good in 1977, only to hook up with Alligator acts Son Seals and then the Master of the Telecaster, Albert Collins. Reed appeared on Collinss first five icy Alligator LPs, including the seminal Ice Pickin. During his tenure with Collins, Reeds solo career began to reignite, with four cuts on the second batch of Alligators Living Chicago Blues anthologies in 1980 and two subsequent LPs of his own, 1982s Take These Blues and Shove Em! (on Ice Cube Records, a logo co-owned by Reed and drummer Casey Jones) and Im in the Wrong Business! five years later for Alligator (with cameos by Bonnie Raitt and Stevie Ray Vaughan). Until his death from cancer in February of 2004, Reed remained an active force on the Chicago circuit with his band, the Spark Plugs (get it? AC sparkplugs? Sure you do!).
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